Risk Protection Arrangement (RPA) for Schools


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New guidance and requirements have been published in the RPA that detail the need for schools and academies in the UK to have correctly configured offline backups. This has led to many schools seeking guidance on what exactly is required for their backup and cyber-security plan.

In this article, we aim to provide all the information you need to check your current setup. If you still need help, we are offering a free backup and cyber-security review.

What is a Risk Protection Arrangement (RPA)?

A Risk Protection Arrangement (RPA) is a concept that has emerged recently to help individuals and businesses protect themselves from financial risks.

Put simply, RPA is an agreement between a group of people or businesses to pool their resources together to cover each other's losses.

In other words, it is a risk-sharing mechanism that can help parties mitigate their risks and minimise their losses.

The RPA provides Cyber Cover, which is a package of measures that schools have to implement when they are using the RPA.

Moreover, RPA includes installing anti-virus software, setting up user authentication and password protection, and ensuring all devices used on the school’s network are regularly updated with the latest cyber security trends.

In addition, the RPA requires a backup of all data, including electronic and paper records, as well as all software used within the school.

Objective of RPA

The primary objective of an RPA is to provide protection to people and businesses against unexpected events that can potentially disrupt their operations, lead to financial losses, or even threaten their very existence.

Overall, an RPA is a prudent strategy that can help investors, businesses, and other entities protect themselves from various types of risks.

The Risk Protection Arrangement (RPA) was introduced to help schools and academies protect their data from cyber-attacks by strengthening the security of their systems.

Requirements for Backup and Cyber Security in Education

In today's technologically-driven world, ensuring that your educational institution is backed up with the necessary tools to provide adequate cyber security and backup protection is a must.

The right risk protection arrangement can mean the difference between salvaging a single deleted file and completely losing your institution's entire database.

Fortunately, there are several things that can be done to protect your institution from such threats. Some of these include:

  • Regularly updating your software
  • Implementing firewalls and antivirus programs
  • Educating your staff on best practices for avoiding cyberattacks

By prioritising backup and cyber security in education, you can protect your students, staff, and institution as a whole, ensuring that any potential cyber threats are met with prompt action and minimal impact.

You can find a complete list of the RPA requirements on the gov.uk website.

Offline Backups

What are offline backups? Offline backups are an essential part of any cyber-security plan. They safeguard your sensitive data in case of an attack or other incident.

Offline backups should be regular, so even if there is an attack, the most recent version of the data can be recovered quickly and easily.

It is also important to store the backup offsite or on a secure, external drive to ensure that the data is not accessible to anyone who might want to access it.

What should you back up?

When designing your backup plan, it's essential not to overlook your SAAS applications, such as Microsoft 365 and Google Workspace.

These apps, as well as any data stored on-premises, must be included in your backup and recovery plan.

Here are some examples of what you should include in your backup

  • File Servers
  • SIMS Server
  • Email Server
  • HR / Employee Files
  • Office 365, One Drive, SharePoint
  • Google Drive
  • Third-Party Applications

Is your backup secure?

When backing up your data, it is essential to ensure that the backups are stored securely. This means encrypting the data both in transit and at rest, as well as using a secure storage medium such as an external hard drive or cloud storage.

Test Your Backups

Backups should be regularly checked and updated. Do you have a response plan in place? Do you know if you can recover from data loss or a cyber attack?

It's essential to test your backups regularly to ensure you can recover quickly. Employees or governors will need to access data and systems quickly in case of a cyber-attack or IT outage.

Cyber Security Training

Staff should receive regular cybersecurity training to stay up-to-date with best practices.

All employees or governors with access to the RPA Member’s information technology system must undertake National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) Cyber Security Training.

The NCSC has various resources available, such as their free Cyber Security e-learning modules that are designed to help employees understand the basics of cyber security and how they can keep themselves safe online.

Benefits of Implementing a Risk Protection Arrangement (RPA) in Education

1. Improved Student Safety

A Risk Protection Arrangement (RPA) is an important tool that can be used to improve student safety in educational institutions.

An RPA helps to identify potential risks and hazards within the school environment, such as hazardous materials, unsafe structures, or inadequate security measures.

By implementing an RPA, schools can take proactive steps to reduce the risk of injury or harm to students and staff.

2. Increased Accountability

An RPA also helps to increase accountability for those responsible for maintaining a safe learning environment.

By establishing clear policies and procedures related to safety and security, local authority maintained schools can ensure that everyone involved in the educational process understands their responsibilities and is held accountable for their actions.

This increased accountability can help to reduce the risk of accidents or injuries occurring on campus.

3. Reduced Liability

By implementing an RPA, schools can also reduce their liability in the event of an accident or injury occurring on campus.

An RPA provides a framework for identifying risks and taking appropriate action to mitigate them, which can help to protect a school from legal action if an accident does occur.

This protection is especially important in cases where a school may be held liable for damages caused by its negligence.

4. Improved Emergency Preparedness

An RPA also helps schools prepare for emergencies by providing procedures for responding quickly and effectively in the event of an incident occurring on campus.

By having a plan in place, schools can ensure that they are able to respond appropriately when any type of emergency arises, reducing the risk of injury or loss of life due to delays in response time.

5. Enhanced Security Measures

Finally, an RPA provides guidance on how best to enhance security measures in educational institutions, so that students and staff are better protected from potential threats such as violence or theft.

By implementing enhanced security protocols such as video surveillance systems, access control systems, metal detectors, and other measures, schools can create a safer environment for everyone involved with the institution.

6. Better Communication

An effective Risk Protection Arrangement (RPA) will also promote better communication between all stakeholders involved with the school’s safety program including administrators, teachers, support staff members, parents/guardians and students themselves, so that everyone is aware of their roles and responsibilities when it comes to keeping students safe from harm while on campus grounds.

7. Increased Awareness

Finally, an effective RPA will increase awareness about safety issues among all stakeholders involved with educational institutions including:

  • Administrators who need to be aware of potential risks.
  • Teachers who need to be aware of how best practices should be implemented.
  • Parents/guardians who need to understand what they should do if their child is injured.
  • Support staff members who need training on how best to respond during emergencies.
  • Students themselves, who need education about what they should do if faced with danger while at school.

This helps everyone become more informed about how they should act in times of crisis at educational institutions.

How to Set up a Risk Protection Arrangement

1. Develop a Risk Management Plan

The first step in setting up a risk protection arrangement is to develop a comprehensive risk management plan.

This plan should include an assessment of the potential risks facing your organisation as well as strategies for mitigating those risks.

It should also identify key stakeholders who will be responsible for implementing the risk management plan and outline the roles and responsibilities of each stakeholder.

2. Identify Key Risks

Once you have developed your risk management plan, it is important to identify any key risks that may affect your organisation.

These can include financial, operational, legal, or reputational risks. Once you have identified these risks, you can begin to develop strategies for managing them.

3. Establish Risk Thresholds

When establishing a risk protection arrangement, it is important to set clear thresholds for when the arrangement should be triggered.

These thresholds should be based on the potential impact of the identified risks, and the likelihood that they will occur.

The thresholds should also take into account any external factors that may impact your organisation’s ability to manage these risks effectively.

4. Choose Appropriate Cyber Insurance Coverage

Once you have established appropriate risk thresholds, it is important to choose a cyber insurance policy that provides adequate coverage for any potential losses due to the identified risks.

It is important to work with an experienced insurance broker who can help you select the right policy for your needs and ensure that all necessary coverage is included in the policy.

5. Monitor & Update Your RPA

Finally, it is important to regularly monitor and update your risk protection arrangement as needed in order to ensure that it remains effective over time.

This includes monitoring external factors such as changes in regulations or economic conditions that could potentially affect your organisation’s ability to manage its identified risks effectively and making any necessary adjustments or updates to your risk management plan accordingly.

Potential Challenges with the Installation of an RPA

1. Cost

One of the primary challenges associated with installing a Risk Protection Arrangement (RPA) is the cost.

The cost of installing and maintaining an RPA can be high, especially for small businesses that may not have the resources to invest in such a system.

Additionally, the complexity of an RPA can make it difficult to accurately estimate the total cost of installation and maintenance.

2. Time

Another challenge associated with installing an RPA is the amount of time it takes to set up and maintain the system.

Depending on the size and complexity of the system, it can take months or even years to install and configure an RPA properly.

In addition, ongoing maintenance and updates must be performed regularly in order to ensure that the system remains secure and effective.

3. Technology Requirements

In order to install and maintain an RPA, certain technology requirements must be met.

This includes having access to reliable internet connections, as well as having enough computing power to run all necessary programs and applications associated with the system.

Without these basic requirements, it will be difficult or impossible to successfully install and maintain an RPA.

4. Security Concerns

When implementing any type of security system, there are always security concerns that must be addressed.

With RPAs, there are additional security considerations due to their complexity and sophistication.

It is important for businesses to consider all potential threats before implementing an RPA in order to ensure that their data remains secure at all times.

5. Regulatory Compliance

Finally, businesses must also consider any applicable regulatory requirements when implementing an RPA in order to remain compliant with laws, governing data privacy and security.

Depending on where a business operates, there may be specific regulations that must be followed when setting up an RPA in order for it to remain compliant with local laws.

The Future of RPA in Education

The future of RPA in education is exciting, as it holds the potential to create safer and more secure learning environments for our children.

With the continued expansion and advancement of technology, RPAs are likely to become more comprehensive and customised, allowing local authority maintained schools to tailor their policies and coverage to meet their unique needs.

Additionally, the use of big data analytics and predictive models will help schools identify and assess potential risks before they become significant issues, allowing educators to proactively mitigate risk and prevent losses.

These advancements will undoubtedly lead to a safer and more secure learning environment for our children, and we can look forward to the future of RPA with optimism and confidence.

If you need any help or free risk management advice with the cyber response plan or backup strategy for your school or academy, then we are here to help.

Feel free to schedule a no-obligation discovery call using the calendar link below.